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2008 presidential race

2009 State of the Union speech
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Gov. Sarah Palin: Booklet - Debate - Profile - Wasilla - Governor
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2008 Democratic primary debates
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2008 Green primary debates
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2007 Republican primary debates
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Excerpts from Books by and about 2008 candidates
Sen. John McCain (R, AZ)
Why Courage Matters
Sen. Barack Obama(D, IL)
Dreams From My Father
Sen. Joe Biden (D, DE)
Promises to Keep
Gov. Sarah Palin (R, AK)
New Energy for Alaska
Rep. Bob Barr (L)
The Meaning of IS
Rep. Cynthia McKinney (G)
Green Party Debate
Ralph Nader (I)
The Good Fight
Alan Keyes (NAIP)
Our Character, Our Future

Sen. Hillary Clinton
It Takes A Village
Mayor Rudy Giuliani
Gov. Mike Huckabee
Character Makes A Difference
Amb. Alan Keyes
Our Character, Our Future
Rep. Ron Paul
Freedom Under Siege
Gov. Mitt Romney

(click a book cover for excerpts and a review or other books by or about the presidency from

America: Our Next Chapter
Tough Questions, Straight Answers,

by Sen. Chuck Hagel & Peter Kaminsky

(Click for Amazon book review)


Chuck Hagel wrote this book after he announced that he would not run for re-election to the Senate in 2008. Hence readers can consider this book to be Hagel's Senate career memoir. However, the reason voters read this book (and the reason voters care about Hagel in general) is his opposition to the Iraq War. Hagel is the nation's most senior Republican elected representative to come out against the war, and this book explores that stance in detail. That stance has also fueled speculation about Hagel as an independent presidential candidate; as both the Democratic and Republican vice-presidential nominee; and now as a potential cross-party Cabinet appointment. Hence the following passage exemplifies the key concept of the book:

   p. 50:
So why did we invade Iraq? I believe it was the triumph of the so-called neo-conservative ideology, as well as the Bush administration arrogance and incompetence that took America into this war of choice. This ideology presented a myopic vision of a democratic Middle East that would inject a large permanent American force presence in the region to act as the guarantor of a regional realignment. They believed that by taking the relatively easy step of toppling Saddam, they could begin to realize this vision through the use of America's unequaled military power, thereby establishing America's preeminence in the Middle East and bolstering the defense of Israel.
So how would Hagel have done in the presidential race? We've seen how Hillary Clinton had to explain endlessly during the presidential primary why she voted for the war. Despite Hagel's statement above, and his leadership on anti-war issues now, like Hillary, Hagel voted for the Iraq War resolution in 2002. Hagel justifies that vote in the book by explaining how he improved the Iraq War resolution by negotiating with Bush; and how Bush promised this Iraq War would be similar to Bush Sr.'s Iraq War in 1991. But Hillary had justifications too; presumably Hagel would have been criticized identically. Perhaps that's why Hagel didn't run.

Besides the war, Hagel does write about his entire Senate career, and we excerpt what we consider the most important aspects. Hagel has been consistently bipartisan in working on legislation -- he passed bills with both Obama and Biden, for example. That's the same accomplishment that McCain claimed (and for which McCain is justifiably both renowned and reviled). Presumably Hagel would also have been criticized in a presidential run identically to how McCain was criticized -- not quite acceptable to either the Democrats or the Republicans anymore.

Hagel's future is not clarified by this book. The ostensible purpose of the book is to discuss America's next chapter, not Hagel's next chapter. But Hagel's future is the interesting part!

-- Jesse Gordon,, November 2008
Homeland Security
   Barack Obama: 2007: With Hagel, introduced nuclear nonproliferation bill.
   Chuck Hagel: 2007: With Obama, introduced nuclear nonproliferation bill.
War & Peace
   Chuck Hagel: Shocking how little Congress & media challenged Bush on Iraq.
   Chuck Hagel: Neo-conservative ideology took us into this war of choice.
   Dick Cheney: OpEd: Used fear of terrorism to intensify war sloganeering.
   Donald Rumsfeld: Ridiculed Shinseki for saying Iraq needed greater manpower.
   Eric Shinseki: Ridiculed for testifying that Iraq needed greater manpower.
   George W. Bush: OpEd: Linked Saddam & al-Qaeda despite lack of evidence.

The above quotations are from America: Our Next Chapter
Tough Questions, Straight Answers,

by Sen. Chuck Hagel & Peter Kaminsky

All material copyright 1999-2013
Reprinting by permission only.

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